Fats are, generally, looked down upon in the average person’s diet. This is so much so that a lot of us prefer a fat-free diet. While excess fats can be bad, every cell of our body requires fats to function in a proper way. This is one reason why fats are categorized as macronutrients. In fact, a major component of our brain is fat and some vitamins can only be absorbed in the presence of fat in the body. Contrary to popular belief, a fat-free diet can affect the body rather dangerous.
So, when it comes to fats, it’s a matter of balancing things. The need is to identify the good fats for the body and to include them. Including the good fats I just as an important part of our diet as good carbohydrates.
One such nutritious fat is the Omega 3 fatty acid. The three categories of Omega 3 are DHA, ALA, and EPA. Fatty fish is the main source of EPA and DHA and ALA is derived from nuts, seeds, and plants.
The Advantages of Omega 3
Fatty acids work as the structure for the cell membrane. They also function as energy stores for the body. It is these that provide energy to the heart, muscles and other parts of the body.
- Sixty percent of our brain is fat and almost one half of that encompasses fats like Omega 3. It helps in the building of nerve and brain cells. Apart from maintaining cognitive memory, it also keeps a check on the inflammation in the brain. This is why many health specialists have associated it with preventing symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ADHD, Autism, etc. A deficiency of Omega 3 can even cause poor memory, learning deficiency, depression, etc.
- Omega 3 plays a big role in boosting HDL, which is good cholesterol. It also reduces triglycerides and LDL, which is bad cholesterol. It helps to repair the walls of the arteries and reduces the chances of inflammation within the heart and of a stroke.
- The cell membrane is mainly made up of Omega 3 and its reduction can harm its functioning. Low energy levels and fatigue can be caused due to decreased levels of Omega 3.
- DHA, found in Omega 3, is very important for supporting the structural module of the retina.
- Omega 3 is a natural sunblock. So it provides protection to hair and skin from harmful and excessive exposure. It is helpful for the soft, supple and wrinkles free appearance of the skin.
- Omega 3 helps to maintain hormonal health and balance.
- A vital role is played by Omega 3 in reducing the body’s oxidative stress and inflammatory response.
Sources of Omega 3
Omega 3 is considered to be a polyunsaturated fatty acid. The human body requires it for a truly effective metabolic system. Since it is not produced by our body, we need to consume food that has Omega 3.
- The primary source of Omega 3 is fatty fish. So opt for fish like tuna, salmon, herring, and sardines.
- For the vegetarian, the main sources for the Omega 3 are nuts and seeds. Walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed are the natural stores of Omega 3.
- DHA, which is an important component of Omega 3, can be found in Marine algae. This is the main source of Omega 3 for fish as well.
- Fresh fruits, peas, beans, and leafy vegetables are another great source of omega 3.
- Fish oil or good quality Omega 3 oil supplements are equally great sources.
- Plenty of water, non-fat dairy, red wine are very good.
Leading a healthy life is all about balancing the good and the bad of all food, so as to ensure that your body gets all the nutrition. A diet is about eating well, after all.